BARS Exchange

BARS Exchange

Aggregated blogs on Romantic Studies – please click through to read full posts.

Archive for May 2014

Teaching Romanticism VI: William Blake

By danielcook by Daniel Cook As part of this ongoing series on Teaching Romanticism we will consider the ways in which we lecture on and discuss individual authors, whether during author-specific modules or broader period surveys. I thought it would be particularly useful to hear about which texts educators use and in what context, whether they place […] …read more


BARS Postgrad Rep: Call for Expressions of Interest

By admin

Please see below for a call from BARS’ President, Nicola Watson, for expressions of interest in the role of postgraduate representative on the BARS Executive. As a former postgrad rep, I’d encourage you to apply if you’re intrigued and eligible – it’s a very rewarding post.

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Historically, BARS has always been concerned to support postgraduate and early career researchers and teachers in the field. This remit means that the constitution of BARS requires that the executive should include one co-opted post-graduate to represent post-graduate members and students in the field more generally. The position of post-graduate representative on the executive of the British Association of Romantic Studies is due to fall vacant in the autumn of 2014. Post-graduate members serve for a term of two years (renewable according to the status of their studies), during which they will attend four executive meetings, and will have the opportunity of co-organising special post-graduate events at the BARS international conferences (BARS 2015 will be held at Cardiff) and the BARS biennial postgraduate and early career conference (due to be held next in 2016). The position therefore offers experience in conference organization and in running an association, together …read more


This Day In Blake History: Gossip!

By Eric Loy

William Blake to William Hayley

Over the past year, the Archive’s publication of existing Blake letters has offered a unique perspective on the personal history of Blake, which complements the view his professional character through his numerous illustrations and engravings.

To this point, the Blake Archive has published two batches of letters, with a third on the way in the coming months.

Working with and reading the letters, we often get a cheap thrill in the office by joking about what Blake was doing on a particular day a couple hundred years ago. (Yes, we realize how sad this is.) More often than not, Blake is pretty damn cold.

But being that the spring warmth is finally in the air, I thought it might be safe to revisit Blake on this day in history, to a letter from May 28, 1804. This particular letter survives through William Gilchrist’s 1808 Life of William Blake, which accounts for the type (rather than script) you see below.

So what’s Blake up to?

Well, as you can see, he’s writing to good ol’ William Hayley about some popular reading …read more


Week 5 – ‘Between Individual and General History: Godwin’s Seventeenth-Century Texts’

By Honor Rieley

Professor Tilottama Rajan, University of Western Ontario

For this penultimate Romantic Realignments of the year, we’re delighted to be welcoming Tilottama Rajan, Director of the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism at the University of Western Ontario. She will be speaking on the subject of William Godwin’s historiography – specifically, the different optics through which he looks at the seventeenth century. All welcome as always in Seminar Room A at 5.15!


This paper argues that Godwin was writing a world history in bits and pieces, through his novels, histories, biographies and children’s books, and that these different genres give us different optics on history. Within this larger framework he was particularly interested in the Cromwellian period as a lost republican moment that has particular resonances in his own time (around Ireland, the pamphlet wars, the suppression of radical dissent, and the “Restoration” of stability in 1660 and 1816). The paper begins with Godwin’s essay on individual vs general history and then works between two very different texts: The History of the Commonwealth as an impersonal, long-durational history, and the intensive focus of Mandeville on a misanthropic individual against the backdrop of the religious divisions and fanaticism of the period, which …read more


FACT and fiction …


Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, “Deep State”, Science Fiction: New Death

In Deep State (2012-2014), Karen Mirza’s and Brad Butler’s mesmerizing video installation meditating on surveillance and mass protest, the voiceover calmly intones that the law is currently being upheld by hired muscle and corporate bully boys, and has nothing to do with justice. Real power, the film suggests, resides in a “shadowy network of special interests”, where fundamental decisions are made. Under such conditions, structural political change – which would include a meaningful response to environmental crisis and substantial dismantling of the global surveillance apparatus – is impossible.

Deep State forms part of Science Fiction: New Death, an exhibition in Liverpool’s FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). The exhibition as a whole is “based on new writing” by novelist China Miéville, author of The City & the City (2010), a book I admire enormously. Science Fiction: New Death offers a compelling and heartening example of how literary fiction finds new ways to insist on its relevance to wider contemporary engagements.

At last month’s Keats Foundation conference at Keats House, Hampstead (“John Keats and his Circle“, …read more


Programme for Making, Breaking and Transgressing Boundaries: Europe in Romantic Writing, 1775-1830

By admin

Please see below for the programme for Making, Breaking and Transgressing Boundaries: Europe in Romantic Writing, 1775-1830. For registration information, keep an eye on the conference site.

Making, Breaking and Transgressing Boundaries:
Europe in Romantic Writing, 1775-1830
Percy Building, Newcastle University, July 15th 2014

9.00am – 9.30am: Registration

9.30am – 10.30am: Keynote Lecture
Dr David Higgins | University of Leeds – ‘Romantic Englishness: From Local to Global’

10.30am – 10.45am: Break

10.45am – 12.15pm: Travel and Transgression
Ilaria Mallozzi | Royal Holloway, University of London – ‘Ugo Foscolo and the Shape of Romantic Ulysses’
William Bainbridge | Durham University – ‘Romantic Redux: Hannibal’s Crossing of the Alps’
Rosie Bailey | Newcastle University – ‘The Principle of Perception: Aesthetics and Scale in Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: Canto the Fourth

12.15pm – 1.00pm: Lunch

1.00pm – 2.30pm: In Search of Understanding: Discourse and Dialect
Daniel Duggan | Durham University – ‘Liberalism and Republicanism in the Thought of Wilhelm von Humboldt’
Amy Milka | University of York – ‘Sharing Language, Sharing Values? A Reassessment of English and French Jacobinism’
Arun Sood | University of Glasgow – ‘New Places and Dialects: Reading Robert Burns Across the Atlantic’

2.30pm – 4pm: Radical Women, Radical Fictions?
Deborah Brown | University of Chichester – ‘Landscape in Charlotte Smith’s Fiction’
Sarah Burdett …read more


Publication Announcement – Works related to Blake’s illustrations to Robert Blair’s The Grave

By Andrea H. Everett

Alternative Design for the Title-Page of Robert Blair's The Grave: The Resurrection of the Dead

The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of fully searchable and scalable electronic editions of the following works related to Blake’s development of his illustrations to Robert Blair’s The Grave:

In addition, we are republishing the following works, previously presented in our Preview mode, to make their designs fully searchable:

    • Robert Blair, The Grave, the 1808 book listed under Commercial Book Illustrations, Designed by Blake and Engraved by Other Engravers.
    • Deaths Door, listed under Separate Plates and Plates in Series, Designed and Engraved by Blake.

Taken together, these works in a variety of media present a comprehensive overview of one of Blake’s major projects as an illustrator and exemplify his working methods as he developed rough sketches into finished water colors. The evolution of any one design can be traced via links presented under Related …read more


A Transcription Puzzle: “then She bore Pale desire”, Part 2

By Andrea H. Everett


The other week, I posted an entry concerning my transcription of a set of manuscript pages beginning “then She bore Pale desire”. At the bottom of one of the pages, what seems to be an abbreviation is written in pencil marks that have either faded over time or were initially written with a series of light strokes. Here’s the image again:

My initial guess was “EscS.”. However, I was not comfortable with this reading for several reasons, and so I contacted Blake scholar Dr. Alexander Gourlay. Sandy agreed that the final letter is an “S” and provided this tracing of the other marks:

Sandy and I came to the conclusion that the first letter could be an “E” or a “P”. Given the above images, “E” might not be the obvious choice, but in this manuscript, Blake’s capital “E”s often resemble a standard capital letter “P”. Take the following example:


This word is “Eyeless”. I also believed the initial letter in question to be an “E” (as opposed to a “P”) because of the way in which the stroke at the bottom of the …read more


Week 4 – ‘Clare’s Mutterings: The Sound of Health in the Pre-Asylum Poetry’

By Honor Rieley

Erin Lafford, Corpus Christi, Oxford

This week our speaker is Oxford’s own Erin Lafford, who will be sharing some of her work on the connections between poetic form and mental and physical health in the poetry of John Clare. All welcome as always in Seminar Room A, 5.15 pm!


Five Questions: Mark Sandy on Romanticism, Memory, and Mourning

By admin


Dr Mark Sandy is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English Studies at Durham University. His research focuses primarily on Romantic poetics and legacies, paying particular attention to intersections between poetry and philosophy and theories of subjectivity, but he has also published on twentieth-century writers including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Saul Bellow and Toni Morrison. His first monograph, Poetics of Self and Form in Keats and Shelley: Nietzschean Subjectivity and Genre, was published by Ashgate in 2005; subsequently, he has edited and co-edited essay collections on Romantic Echoes in the Victorian Era (Ashgate, 2008), Romantic Presences in the Twentieth Century (Ashgate, 2012) and Venice and the Cultural Imagination (Pickering & Chatto, 2012). Below, we discuss his latest monograph, Romanticism, Memory, and Mourning, which was published by Ashgate last November.

1) How did you come to realise that Romanticism, Memory, and Mourning was going to be your next monograph project?

My first book …read more